Fla. Firefighter Recovering From Serious Burns

An Indian River County firefighter who suffered second and third-degree burns on his face, neck and forearms during a flash fire on a rescue boat is recovering.


May 16--INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- An Indian River County firefighter, who is recovering from severe burns, was released from an Orlando burn center Thursday.

Dustin Hawkins is recovering from second- and third-degree burns on his face, neck and forearms received during a flash fire as he was working on a rescue boat May 8. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Hawkins was flown to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce and then to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Hawkins, 31, joined the Indian River County Fire Department in early 2003.

The incident occurred at Fire Station No. 2 near the Merrill Barber Bridge. Other firefighters also were on the 27-foot Boston Whaler when the fire occurred and helped extinguish the flames. No one else was injured and the boat is back in service, Assistant Chief Brian Burkeen said.

Hawkins has an attorney, Jeffrey Bickler, looking into the situation. Burkeen referred further questions to the department's private attorney, Paul Westcott of Vero Beach, who handles workers' compensation cases.

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